Dag Hammarskjöld (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: As secretary-general of the United Nations from 1953 to 1961, Hammarskjöld vastly increased both the influence and the prestige of the United Nations (U.N.). He oversaw the explosive growth of the organization among Third World nations, prevented the U.N. from becoming a pawn of the major Cold War rivals, and initiated the U.N.’s peacekeeping role.
Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld grew up in a home dominated by the ideals of public service and faith in one’s own convictions. The youngest of four sons, he watched his father, a former prime minister of Sweden, sacrifice his political career by defending Sweden’s neutrality during World War I. Certainly his father’s subsequent devotion to the principles of the League of Nations, the world’s first genuine collective-security organization, influenced the young Hammarskjöld’s later career. His mother’s influence was less apparent, although her skepticism of rational thought can be discerned in his later poetry and religious writings.
Educated at the University in Uppsala, Hammarskjöld first studied social philosophy and French literature, later turning to the fields of economics and political economy, in which he did exceedingly well. In 1927, he studied at the University of Cambridge under the great English economist John Maynard Keynes, receiving his degree the following year and a doctorate in economics from the...
(The entire section is 1868 words.)
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